'Millionaire' Game Pushes Wireless Use

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Australian telecom marketer Telstra has launched a short-message-service and mobile Internet game in Australia based on the television show "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire."


SMS game players have to answer general-knowledge questions as quickly as possible to win up to $10,000 by Oct. 31. Players send an SMS message containing a trivia question, and those who send a message with the correct answer within three minutes receive another question. Players also can send an SMS message to use lifelines.


The benefit for Telstra is the 30 cents in Australian currency charged per SMS message sent when playing the game.


For this initiative, Telstra has a six-month sublicense from Codeonline, a Finnish interactive wireless games firm. Three European wireless carriers already have launched the game on their networks.


Telstra previously has used those games for the Dial-a-Coke trial and the SMS Red Nose Day fundraiser, plus the launch of a commercial 2.5G cellular service network.


According to Telstra, SMS and wireless Internet-based games encourage customer usage of wireless data through their GSM and CDMA cell phones. GSM and CDMA are cellular service standards.


Telstra said its customers send more than 70 million mobile-originating messages each month.


The company plans to offer other short-message-service and mobile Internet games in the coming months.


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